The Big Dig

Sales is hard work… and it seems like it’s a permanent part of our lives.  We are either doing it to someone or someone is doing it to us.  Day in and day out we are  selling our ideas, our talent, our products or someone else’s products… and others are doing the same.   All blended it’s a deafening, human-less hum.  Yuck.

What is this hard work about?  A while back when I was a young general manager,  a crusty old lumber salesman “advised” me that the game of sales was to “take the money out of the customer’s pocket and put it in yours.”  Huh?

Just last week a sales leader told me she was working on a sales approach that would best be defined as “dig” information out of the customer.  Dig.  Really?  Sounds painful for both parties.

How about a different route to a potentially much richer result?  Let’s swap out a few words and turn our sales mindset on its head:

  • Replace “to” with “with”. Sales, whether it’s about a $4 latte or a $2 million CRM system, is an exchange between human beings… human beings with ideas, passion, emotion, dreams.  You might know your product’s features and benefits but you don’t know your customer’s inner tapestry.  Ask questions.  Learn.  Create something extraordinary WITH them.
  • Speaking of what’s possible, no need to dig.  Abandon the pick axe and bring this: YOU.  Show up with all of you… whole, present, and fully engaged.  Now everything you need to know about your customer is just 18” away.  Miles of painful digging is not required or recommended.  Authentic exchange is.

So begin here: open the conversation with quality questions.  Engage your customer with your passion, talent, and rare listening skills.  Might not be as easy as spitting out the same features and benefits all day but trust this: the hard work of being engaged and engaging is well worth it.

After all, would you rather dig yourself down into a black hole or work out in an open space of possibility?

Boundless spaces await you…

7 Responses to “The Big Dig”

  1. Sonja Walker Says:

    Thanks for the reminder. We forget as the days/months pass about the true meaning of Sales.

  2. Mike G Says:

    Well said.

    Good rapport is key. And you earn it by caring, being engaged and listening.

  3. Tweets that mention BOLDTREK » Blog Archive » The Big Dig -- Topsy.com Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Veronika Noize, Ronnie Noize. Ronnie Noize said: Sue Melone of BoldTrek on rethinking sales: http://boldtrek.com/blog/?p=297 [...]

  4. Alan Booth Says:

    Is listening soooo bold?

    I just landed a new client by listening that then brought me to a question; one that brought tears to the CEO’s eyes. That closed the deal.

  5. Mary T. Davis Says:

    Great questions and excellent listening. Two skills I am committing to for 2011. If you think of conversation like a tennis match, you have to go in prepared and focused. As you receive information, you need to know where to go with it. We get better by doing…better questions by preparing better. Better listeners by practicing listening. I may even start before 2011!!!

  6. Brucebucks Says:

    Who would have thought that listening and questioning were great skills to be acquired. Thanks for this great reminder and advice.

  7. Peter Willis Says:

    Ah, yes, the art of listening in the process of diagnosis of a problem. Tell me more…anything else?…how does it feel when you…? We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. The goal of a sales professional is to uncover the person’s personal wins and connect the best solution to the success of helping that person achieve those wins. We must first understand before attempting to be understood.

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